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Coffee House

Labour’s internecine squabbles mean it missed an open goal attacking Cameron over Europe

30 June 2014

3:39 PM

30 June 2014

3:39 PM

David Cameron is currently giving his statement to the Commons on the European Council and Britain’s new best friend forever, Jean-Claude Juncker. It’s a failure that his colleagues have given him room to spin into a success, but it’s worth watching how Labour manage it too. The party had an open goal at the weekend for the newspapers to pick over the Conservatives’ European strategy, Cameron’s suitability to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with Europe and the chances of that renegotiation being successful now Juncker is at the helm. But instead, the narrative split so that the Sunday papers were full not just of Cameron and Europe but Labour tensions. This is frustrating to those who’d worked up a line about Cameron’s competence, and to those working this week on Labour’s business strategy.

On the latter, Ed Balls and Chuka Umunna are trying hard to show that they at least understand businesses. But their party’s pro-European message – which frontbenchers see as being important for business – isn’t being heard as strongly as it could because Labour rows are getting more coverage. It could tie its stance on Europe together with a pro-business pitch, but that requires members of the shadow cabinet to keep their squabbles away from journalists’ dictaphones.

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